Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Tasted #370 - #371: Nantou Whisky Distillery OMAR Single Cask ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry

Ask most whisky drinkers about Taiwanese whisky, and they'll probably respond with "Taiwanese whisky? You mean Kavalan?"

Whilst Kavalan undoubtedly produce some incredible Taiwanese whiskies (see our distillery tour review here), they're not the only ones. State-owned Nantou Whisky Distillery, in the central East of Taiwan, have been producing single malt whisky since 2008, and (judging by what I've tasted over the years) are doing a great job of it.


I recently picked up a pack with the above two 200mL bottles from Taipei airport - each containing a single cask, cask-strength Nantou "OMAR" expression, one ex-Bourbon (5yo) and one ex-Sherry (6yo).

Both were impressive (even more so when you consider their relative short maturation), but one really impressed me, a lot more than I expected. Read on below....



Nantou OMAR Cask Strength ex-Sherry Cask #21091313 (58.4% ABV, 6yo, Nantou, Taiwan, $2,200NTD / $570HKD / $92AUD as a set of two bottles, available from Taipei Airport)
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Colour: Copper-orange.

Nose: Berry sweetness leads to red apples, milk chocolate and hints of oak.

Palate: Quite tannic / dry, with sweetbread, pot-pourri and berry notes, followed by a slight nuttiness (Brazil nuts) and raisins. Water brings the oak out a little more - I suspect this was a fairly active cask.

Finish: Long, slightly tannic and with lots of sweet oak.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 88/100.


Nantou OMAR Cask Strength ex-Bourbon Cask #11110097 (54.1% ABV, 5yo, Nantou, Taiwan, $2,200NTD / $570HKD / $92AUD as a set of two bottles, available from Taipei Airport)
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Colour: Light golden straw

Nose: Grassy and herbaceous at first, with a fair amount of coconut and pencil shavings. After some time comes hints of tropical fruit, and some milk bottle lollies.

Palate: Rich and viscous. Initially dry, but after time a sweetness emerges, along with pineapple and mango notes. Water adds some oak and caramel chews.

Finish: Long, smooth and very creamy. Just the right balance of sweetness.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. An incredibly complex whisky considering it's only been maturing (albeit in Taiwan's climate) for 5 years. Delicious too - easily my pick of the two.


Cheers,
Martin.

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